John Lennon had a successful career and a young family at the time of his death. His son, Sean, was only five-years-old and John had become a stay-at-home father to take care of him. This makes his death even more tragic – but who was it that tore the Lennon-Ono family apart?

The man jailed for the murder of John Lennon was Mark David Chapman, who is believed to have been a crazed fan hellbent on killing a public figure.

Mark was sentenced to life in prison for his crime, which he openly admitted to, and he has not been allowed parole since.

The tragic day came on December 8, 1980, when he asked his supposed favourite singer, John, to autograph a copy of his new album Double Fantasy for Mark.

This took place where John lived with his wife Yoko Ono and son Sean at The Dakota in Manhattan, New York City.

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John then left for a recording session at the Record Plant, also in New York City.

He and his wife were, according to one John Lennon expert David Stark, planning on touring all over the world, including in the UK, for their album Double Fantasy, which was John’s final work released during his lifetime.

This would mark John’s return to the UK after almost 10 years away from his homeland, as he and Yoko moved to the USA in August 1971.

But, on the day of John’s death, he and Yoko returned to their apartment after the session in a limo just before 11pm, and walked through the archway of their building.

Sadly, it was then Mark shot John four times in the back at close range.

John was rushed to the Roosevelt Hospital in New York City but was pronounced dead on arrival at 11pm, and it is likely he died in the police cruiser en route to the hospital.

Some have suggested he may have died straight away on being shot, but this is unclear.

As for the killer, Mark was understood to have been furious at John for some of his more controversial public statements, most notably when he claimed The Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.”

Mark was a big fan of The Beatles fan, and also is believed to have considered killing other public figures, such as Ronald Reagan and Elizabeth Taylor.


Despite these contemplations, he had no prior convictions before the shooting.

After hitting John those four times, despite shooting five times, he remained at the scene reading J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye.

He was reported to have become obsessed with this novel in the years leading up to the murder and seemed unconcerned with what he had done.

He was arrested at the scene and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison with mental health treatment.

The killer has since been refused parole many times, something which Yoko has fought to ensure.

The most recent of these attempts was on August 26 this year, when he was denied parole for the 11th time, and will remain behind bars for at least another two years.

This means, so far, his sentence will be more than 40 years in prison.

Crowds gathered at Roosevelt Hospital and in front of the Dakota after his death, though John did not have a funeral but instead requested his ashes would be given to his widow.

He was cremated at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York, on December 12 and his ashes were given to his widow Yoko, who requested 10 minutes of silence around the world instead of the funeral.

She and Sean, were the main beneficiaries of his will while John’s other son, Julian, from his first marriage with Cynthia, received little from the will, though later made a settlement with Yoko.


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